Victories and a resurgence

[img_assist|nid=1951|title=GB women’s quad overcome arch-rivals Germany in Olympic heat|desc=Peter Spurrier|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=490][img_assist|nid=1950|title=Lightweight men’s double hold off Greece to win heat|desc=Peter Spurrier|link=none|align=left|width=440|height=268][img_assist|nid=1949|title=A resurgent lightweight men’s four in their Olympic heat|desc=Peter Spurrier|link=none|align=right|width=440|height=268]
Britain’s lightweight men’s double of Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter and women’s quadruple scull both raced to victory in their opening Olympic heats at Shunyi, near Beijing, today, with the latter crew now through to the final and the men into a semi-final. Both beat potentially strong opposition in the shape of Greece and Germany respectively.

"Resurgent" would be the word, meanwhile, to describe the performance of the GB lightweight men’s four who were second to China in their heat to qualify for the semi-finals.

In tail-wind conditions with the afternoon always at threat of a thunderstorm, the lightweight women’s double performed well to finish third behind Canada and Germany. They will now race a repechage.

The men’s and women’s eights may be forced to wait another day to start their Olympic campaign because weather conditions have currently (as at 17.20 local time) forced a postponement.

"It’s been a day of excellent performances under pressure", said Team GB Rowing manager David Tanner.

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RACE REPORTS

With just one place available in Sunday’s finals the tension at the start of the women’s quadruple scull was palpable as two great powers of this event, Great Britain and Germany, lined up next to each other.

Of the two, Great Britain probably took the better start and were ahead by a canvas at 250m. Sculling long and strong they pulled out to more than a second lead at 500m. With the race
tracked by a battalion of anxious coaches cycling along the towpath from a variety of nations, the gap was virtually the same at the halfway mark with Katherine Grainger, Fran Houghton, Debbie Flood and Annie Vernon still looking in control.

The British crew is here seeking a first women’s gold medal of all time for GB whilst Kathrin Boron, part of the main opposing crew, already has four. Before the 1500m mark Germany made a push and drew back to half a length but GB responded.

Reaching the grandstands, under darkening and rain-filled skies, the British upped their rate and kept their length. Germany came back at them and the gap closed. Would GB have enough? Yes. Victory in 6:13.70.

"We got a good start and we’re pleased with the performance today. We would expect to improve right up to the final", said Grainger.

"We’re looking forward to getting alongside the Chinese in the final", said Flood. "That will push us even more".

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter went into today’s heats of the lightweight men’s single scull as an unbeaten crew this season and they looked as if they meant business once more by pulling out to a one second lead at the 500m mark. Greece, in second at that point, beat the British duo to the silver medal at the 2007 World Championships and have a fast finish.

By the halfway point the British crew had slightly stretched their lead with the Greeks tracking them. As thunder rattled around the course and the crews reached the grandstands Purchase and Hunter were still in control to win by a length in 6:13.69. Greece were second and Germany third.

Great Britain’s lightweight men’s four of James Clarke, James Lindsay-Fynn, Paul Mattick and Richard Chambers are reigning world champions. Today they were quick off the start and just two tenths of a second behind race leaders China at the 500m mark. By halfway, the Chinese had eased out to a bigger lead with Australia in third.

For this British quartet, though, the quick start and strong second quarter were already signs of much improvement since the world cup season.

At 1500m the Chinese were still ahead backed by the chanting of an enormous home crowd. With 200m to go the Chinese still had a length but Australia were tiring. A final surge put the British crew to within striking distance of the race winners and will give them confidence for the semi-finals.

"That was good fun", said Clarke. "China were fast but we are definitely capable of catching them. They are all good characters and we get on well with them".

"We’ve found it, we’re back", added Mattick of the crew’s return to form at the right time. "We know that we’ve got bits and pieces that we can tweak and change but that was a good race today", said Chambers.

World championships bronze medallists, Germany, made a strong start to the lightweight women’s double scull final but, as predicted, they were quickly challenged by Canada who took the lead at 500m. The British duo of Helen Casey and Hester Goodsell, meanwhile, produced one of their best starts of the year. At 500m they were third and, with sustained pace, second at the halfway point.

At 1500m the Germans re-emerged to pull past GB and move into the all-important second qualifying slot from where they pushed past Canada to win in 6:51.96. Great Britain were third in 6:55.33 but their performance today will give them confidence going into the repechage.

"That’s the fastest start to a race that we’ve ever produced, I think", said Casey. "It was an amazing atmosphere out there and I’m really pleased with how we went today", added Goodsell.

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RESULTS

OPEN

WOMEN

Heat 2
1. Annie Vernon/Debbie Flood/Fran Houghton/Katherine Grainger
(GREAT BRITAIN) 6:13.70
2. Germany 6:15.26
3. USA 6:19.99
4. Australia 6:20.45

LIGHTWEIGHT

WOMEN

Double scull

Heat 2
1. Berit Carow/Marie-Louise Draeger (Germany) 6:51.96
2. Melanie Kok/Tracy Cameron (Canada) 6:54.07
3. Hester Goodsell/Helen Casey (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:55.23
4. Sanna Sten/Minna Nieminen (Finland) 6:56.61
5. Chrysi Biskitzi/Alexandra Tsiavou (Greece) 7:05.95
6. Alex White/Kirsten McCann (South Africa) 7:20.51

MEN

Four

Heat 1
1. China 5:51.30
2. Richard Chambers/James Lindsay-Fynn/Paul Mattick/
James Clarke (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:52.38
3. Australia 5:55.18
4. Netherlands 5:57.54
5. Egypt 6:11.71

Double scull

Heat 3
1. Zac Purchase/Mark Hunter (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:13.69
2. Dimitrios Polymeros/Vasileios Polymeros (Greece) 6:16.10
3. Jonathan Koch/Manuel Brehmer (Germany) 6:21.99
4. Zazushige Ura/Daisaku Takeda (Japan) 6:24.21
5. Mohamed Garidi/Kamel Ait Daoud (Algeria) 6:43.94

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BEIJING RACING TIMETABLE

Monday 11
Quarterfinals:
Men’s and women’s single sculls

NB – may also include heats of men’s and women’s eights

Repechages:
Men’s and women’s pairs and fours, and the men’s four

Tuesday 12

Repechages:
Lightweight men’s and women’s double and men’s four,
Men’s and women’s quadruple sculls and eights

Wednesday 13
Semi-finals:
Men’s single, double, pair and four
Women’s single

Thursday 14
Semi-finals:
Lightweight men’s double and four
Lightweight women’s double
Men’s quadruple scull

B Finals:
Men’s and women’s single and double and men’s four

Friday 15 August
Reserve day

Saturday 16 August:

FINALS:
Men’s and women’s single, double and pair and men’s four

B Finals:
Lightweight men’s double and four
Lightweight women’s double
Men’s and women’s quadruple scull
Men’s eight

Sunday 17 August:

FINALS
Lightweight men’s double and four
Lightweight women’s double
Men’s and women’s quadruple scull and eight
Women’s eight

NB – subject to change. Please see Beijing 2008 website
for up to date information.

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TEAMGB CREW LISTS
Olympic Games 2008, Beijing
(with clubs/home towns/dates of birth)
(listed from bow to stroke as at 7 August)

OPEN

WOMEN

Eight:

Carla Ashford (Oxford Brookes BC/Northallerton/13.03.79)
Beth Rodford (Thames RC/Burton-on-Trent/ 28.12.82)
Natasha Page (Reading Uni/Hartpury/30.04.85)
Natasha Howard (Tideway Scullers/West Runton/3.9.80)
Jess Eddie (Uni of London/Durham/07.10.84)
Sarah Winckless (Walbrook & Royal/Henley/18.10.73)
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/ Bournemouth/27.3.82)
Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)

Coach: John Keogh

Pair

Louisa Reeve (Leander/London/16.05.84)/
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft/Warrington 16.09.85)

Coach: Rob Morgan

Quad Scull

Annie Vernon (Marlow RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/Debbie Flood
(Leander Club/Leeds/27.02.80)/Frances Houghton
(Tyrian Club (Uni of London)/Oxford/19.09.80)/Katherine
Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)

Coach: Paul Thompson

Double scull

Elise Laverick (Thames RC/Poling, W.Sussex/27.07.75)/
Anna Bebington (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.2.83)

Coach: Miles Forbes Thomas

Alternates*

Tina Stiller (Nottingham RC/Yarm, N.Yorks/23.6.87)
Alice Freeman (Wallingford RC/Oxford/6.9.78)

MEN

Pair

Robin Bourne-Taylor (Army RC/Oxford/22.07.81)/Tom Solesbury
(Molesey BC/Petts Wood, Kent/23.09.80)

Coach: Peter Sheppard

Four

Tom James (Molesey/Wrexham/11.3.84)/Steve Williams
(Leander Club/Cheltenham/15.04.76)/Peter Reed (Leander Club/
Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/Andy Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden,
N.Yorks/03.03.79)

Coach: Jurgen Grobler

Eight

Alex Partridge (Leander Club/Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Tom Stallard (Leander/Welwyn, Herts/11.09.78)/
Tom Lucy (Oxford Brookes/Monmouth/01.05.88)/
Richard Egington (Leander/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Josh West (Leander/Santa Fe, USA/25.03.77)/
Alastair Heathcote (Army RC/London/18.8.77)/
Matt Langridge(Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/
Colin Smith (Leander/Henley on Thames/23.09.83)/
Acer Nethercott (University College Oxford BC/Harlow/28.11.77)
(cox)

Coaches: Mark Banks, John West

Single Scull

Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/9.5.83)

Coach: Bill Barry

Double Scull

Matt Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.4.79)/
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)

Coach: Mark Earnshaw

Men’s Alternates*

Tom Parker (Oxford Brookes/Winchester/24.10.82)
Alex Gregory (Reading Uni/Wormington/11.03.84)

LIGHTWEIGHT

WOMEN

Double scull

Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni/Cambridge/27.06.84)
Helen Casey (Wallingford RC/Oxford/06.02.74)/

Coach: Rob Morgan

MEN

Four

Richard Chambers (Oxford Brookes/Coleraine/10.06.85)/
James Lindsay-Fynn (London/Trim/29.09.75)/Paul Mattick
(Wallingford/Oxford/25.04.78)/James Clarke (London RC/
London/31.12.84)

Coach: Robin Williams

Double scull

Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury, Glos/02.05.86)/
Mark Hunter (Leander Club/Romford, Essex/01.07.78)

Coach: Darren Whiter

Lightweight Men’s Alternate*

Rob Williams (London RC/Maidenhead/21.01.1985)

* Alternate=Reserve

TEAM OFFICIALS

ACCREDITED TEAM OFFICIALS

Team Leader:
David Tanner

Chief Coaches:
Jurgen Grobler, Paul Thompson

Coaches:
Miles Forbes-Thomas, John Keogh, Robin Williams, Darren Whiter,
Rob Morgan, Bill Barry, Mark Earnshaw, Mark Banks, John West, Peter Sheppard

Support staff:
Maggie Netto, Maurice Hayes.

Medical staff:
Ali Sanders, Mark Edgar

Press officer:
Caroline Searle

ADDITIONAL TRAVELLING STAFF

All medical/sports science:

Pam Gardner, Gill Edmonson, Ryan Bathurst, Al Smith, Mark Homer,
Chris Shambrook

Translator:

Jennifer Song

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